Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Mary Evelyn Ransom Strong Edition

March 9th, 2017

Each week we’ll be posting a photograph from University Archives that shows a scene from KU’s past. We’ve also scanned more than 34,500 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

This week’s photograph was selected in honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month.

Photograph of Mary Evelyn Ransom Strong in a suffrage parade, 1912

Mary Evelyn Ransom Strong, sitting in the back seat with a dark coat,
campaigning for women’s suffrage in Lawrence, 1912.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 2/8 Family 1912 Prints:
Chancellors: Frank Strong: Family (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Throughout her life, Mary Strong (1870-1953), the wife of KU Chancellor Frank Strong, was active in the suffrage movement, especially in Kansas. She was “integral” to Kansas voters approving the Equal Suffrage Amendment to the state constitution on November 5, 1912, making Kansas the eighth state to grant full suffrage to women.

Preliminary evidence suggests that the photograph was taken on Vermont Street just north of Tenth, looking east toward Massachusetts Street. According to notation on the back of the print, the “Methodist Church [is] at right and back of car.” In his book Across the Years on Mount Oread, Robert Taft captioned the image by noting that “the photograph was taken on Vermont street and looks towards Massachusetts” (124). These two pieces of information, checked against the 1912 Lawrence Sanborn fire insurance map, suggest that the church in the background is the First Methodist Episcopal Church, now the First United Methodist Church.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

Throwback Thursday: Kansas Day Edition, Part II

January 26th, 2017

Each week we’ll be posting a photograph from University Archives that shows a scene from KU’s past. We’ve also scanned more than 34,500 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Happy birthday, Kansas! Kansas Day is this Sunday, January 29th, and we’re celebrating with a fun photograph from the 1954 Kansas Relays Parade.

Photograph of a float in the Kansas Relays Parade, 1954

A Kansas-themed float in the Kansas Relays Parade, 1954. The year marked
the 100th anniversary of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which established
Kansas Territory. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/2 1954 Prints:
Student Activities: Kansas Relays (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

The picture was taken on Massachusetts Street just south of Eleventh. The Watkins Museum of History is prominent in the background; the building originally housed the J. B. Watkins Land Mortgage Company and the Watkins National Bank, and it served as Lawrence’s City Hall from 1929 to 1970.

Be sure to also check out last year’s Kansas Day image: a photograph of girls in sunflower costumes in the 1949 Kansas Relays Parade.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

Throwback Thursday: Olympic Edition

August 11th, 2016

Each week we’ll be posting a photograph from University Archives that shows a scene from KU’s past. We’ve also scanned more than 28,000 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Men’s basketball is underway at the 2016 Summer Olympics, so this week we’re sharing photographs of the U.S. men’s basketball team that played in the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. Team USA consisted of fourteen members: seven players from KU’s 1952 championship squad plus five members of the Amateur Athletic Union‘s Peoria (Illinois) Caterpillar-Diesels and two members of the Phillips 66ers. KU head coach Phog Allen was an assistant coach for the Olympic team.

Photograph of "Welcome NCAA Champs - On to Helsinki" banner, 1952

Olympic banner stretched across Massachusetts Street at Seventh, 1952.
This view is looking south; the Eldridge Hotel is on the right.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 66/13 Team Olympic 1951/1952:
Athletic Department: Basketball (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of the USA Men's Olympic team, 1952

Members of the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team, 1952.
Assistant coach Phog Allen is standing on the far left.
The seven KU players are kneeling in the front row; from left to right they are
Dean Kelley, Charlie Hoag, John Keller, Bob Kenney, Bill Hougland,
Bill Lienhard, and Clyde Lovellette. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 66/13 Team Olympic 1951/1952: Athletic Department: Basketball (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of the USA Men's Olympic team on podium, 1952

The 1952 U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team won the gold medal, defeating the USSR
(also known as the CCCP) 36-25. Uruguay won the bronze. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 66/13 Team Olympic 1951/1952: Athletic Department: Basketball (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

The Crimson and Blue Handbook describes KU’s road to the Olympics.

[Phog] Allen had recruited his 1951-1952 team members with the promise that they would be the squad to represent the United States in the ’52 Olympics…

[After winning the national championship in 1952], KU went back to Kansas City to face the Springfield Missouri State Teachers [1952 NAIA champion; now Missouri State University] in the first round of the Olympic playoffs. The Jayhawks won 92-65, establishing a new single-game scoring record. The NIT champion, LaSalle, was next, and KU won 70-65 in the semifinals at Madison Square Garden as [Clyde] Lovellette scored 40 points.

The win over LaSalle had assured the Jayhawks of placing seven players on the Olympic squad, and KU met the AAU champion Peoria Caterpiller-Diesels in the Olympic finals to determine who would coach the team in Helsinki. Peoria won in the final eight seconds when Howie Williams, a former Purdue guard, hit a short jumper to break a 60-60 tie. Peoria coach Warren Womble was named the Olympic coach, and Phog Allen was named an assistant.

Allen had kept his promise.

Learn more about the Jayhawks who were members of the 1952 Olympic basketball team and other KU basketball players and coaches who have been involved with U.S. Olympic teams.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt, Megan Sims, and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

George Allen Collection of Stereoviews, 1867-1915

May 13th, 2015

Photograph of George Allen, 1989

George Allen with his collection, December 1989.
Lawrence Journal-World Photo. George Allen Photograph Collection
accession file. Click image to enlarge.

George Allen (1913-2007) was born in Wichita, Kansas. His family moved to Lawrence in 1927. He graduated from Liberty Memorial High School, and then earned a law degree from Kansas University. He practiced law in Lawrence for forty years. Mr. Allen also collected stereoviews, a hobby fueled by his love of history and an interest in photography. He bought his first stereoview in the 1950s from a woman who operated an antique shop behind her house. He would go on to spend thirty-five years collecting thousands more, with his collection peaking somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000. In 1990 he sold 722 stereoviews to the University of Kansas Libraries. Among the collection are views of Kansas, Arizona, Illinois, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Missouri, Dakota Territory, as well as images of cowboys, sod homes, coal mining, floods, cattle raising, the Chicago Exposition of 1874, and railroads.

Photograph of theEmporia News building, Emporia, Kansas, undated

Emporia News building on Commercial Street, Emporia, Kansas, undated.
George Allen Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH 137.
Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of a flood in Abilene, Kansas, 1903

Flood in Abilene, Kansas, 1903. George Allen Photograph Collection.
Call Number: RH PH 137. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of boys bathing in Mud Creek, Dickinson County, Kansas, undated

Boys bathing in Mud Creek, Dickinson County, Kansas, undated.
George Allen Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH 137.
Click image to enlarge.

The most popular stereoviews from Mr. Allen’s collection are fifty-five from Alexander Gardner’s “Across the Continent on the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division” series, which include several images of post-Civil War Lawrence, Kansas. Gardner, working for the Union Pacific Railway, took his photography wagon, loaded with chemicals and glass plates, across the west in 1867. He first followed the existing railroad line, which passed through Kansas, and then he continued along the proposed railroad route to the Pacific Ocean. He documented the towns, landscapes, and people he encountered on the way, using stereoviews to do so.

Photograph of Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, Kansas, 1867

Image of Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, Kansas, 1867 (back)

Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, Kansas, 1867 (front and back of card).
The image shows the rebirth of the town within five years of Quantrill’s Raid.
Alexander Gardner, Across the Continent on the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division.
George Allen Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH 137.
Click images to enlarge.

Stereoscopic photography consists of two nearly identical images pasted on a board, side by side. To get the two images, the photographer would make an exposure, then move the camera 2 1/2 inches, the average distance between human eyes, and make a second exposure. The photographer would then develop each of the images and paste the prints onto the board. When the two images are viewed through an apparatus called a stereoscope, or stereoviewer, the eyes force the two images into one image, creating the appearance of depth perception, or 3D. Another method was to use a twin-lens camera, which allowed the photographer to make the two exposures simultaneously, saving time and eliminating the need to reload the camera.

Image of a stereoviewer

An example of a stereoviewer, also known as a stereoscope.
Image courtesy of Gilai Collectibles. Click image to enlarge.

Collecting and trading stereoviews of plays, famous sites, people, or events was quite popular in the mid nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Most homes had a stereoviewer in the parlor, which allowed viewers to see, for example, views of Paris without actually traveling. Mr. Allen enjoyed stereoviews for the way they portrayed history and told the story of our shared past.

Photograph of a round-up on the Sherman Ranch, Genesee, Kansas, undated

Image of a round-up on the Sherman Ranch, Genesee, Kansas, undated

Round-up on the Sherman Ranch, Genesee, Kansas, undated (front and back of card).
George Allen Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH 137. Click images to enlarge.

Photograph of a dugout sod home, Kansas, undated

Dugout sod home, Kansas, undated. George Allen Photograph Collection.
Call Number: RH PH 137. Click image to enlarge.

Kathy Lafferty
Public Services

Kansas Christmases Past

December 18th, 2014

Several archival collections in our Kansas Collection contain images showing Christmas scenes from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We’ve selected a few to show here; we hope they help get you in the holiday spirit!

Photograph of a room interior with Christmas tree, 1896

Room interior with Christmas tree and presents, 1896.
Leavenworth Public Library Photograph Collection.
Call Number: RH PH 72. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Louise and Margaret Walbridge at the Christmas tree, circa 1897

Louise and Margaret Walbridge sitting under the Christmas tree
with their toys, Profile Ranch, Russell County, Kansas, circa 1897.
Louis Chester Walbridge Collection. Call Number: RH PH 21. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of 7th Battery dining hall set for Christmas Dinner, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1906

7th Battery dining hall set for Christmas dinner, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1906.
Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of Douglass Grade School, Manhattan, Kansas, Christmas 1945

Douglass Grade School, Manhattan, Kansas, Christmas 1945.
James E. Butler Collection. Call Number: RH MS-P 507. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of John A. Hodge with his grandson, Johnnie L. Hodge, Christmas 1949

John A. Hodge with his grandson, ten-year-old Johnnie L. Hodge, Christmas 1949.
The pair are examining Owen Wilson’s new “knockdown” electric train cars.
Photograph by Dowdal H. Davis, son-in-law. Dorothy Hodge Johnson Collection.
Call Number: RH MS-P 549. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of the winner of Christmas decoration contest, Topeka, Kansas, circa 1950s

Winner of Christmas decoration contest, Topeka, Kansas, circa 1950s. Photograph by Joe Douglas.
Joe Douglas Collection. Call Number: RH PH 90. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Christmas decorations on Massachusetts Street at 7th, Lawrence, Kansas, undated

Christmas decorations on Massachusetts Street at 7th, Lawrence, Kansas, undated.
Lawrence Photo Collection. Call Number: RH PH 18H.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services